LG 50pz950t

With its reasonable price, lavish build quality and femme fatale good looks, LG's 50PZ950T certainly knows how to get your attention. But it's much more than just a pretty face.

Its connections are exemplary for a start, with their four HDMIs, RS-232 for system integration, LAN port, two USBs and supplied Wi-Fi adaptor. Its core screen spec promises great things too, with a Full HD resolution, a high claimed contrast ratio and, of course, active 3D support.

Also extremely impressive in terms of the variety and volume of content it carries is LG's latest Smart TV online system – especially since LG recently added a substantial amount of new video streaming content to it. It's a pity, then, that the online features are extremely sluggish to navigate and use, and also tend to suffer numerous crashes and streaming glitches.

When it comes to the all-important matter of picture quality, the LG 50PZ950T sadly doesn't live up to the standards being set by its Samsung and, especially, Panasonic rivals. The biggest problem is that black levels don't get particularly deep, denying the TV some of that cinematic impact that usually distinguishes plasma from its LCD rival.

There's also a bit of crosstalk with 3D during dark scenes, gamers will be affected by some fairly heavy duty input lag, and you'll likely see some fairly obvious – although thankfully only temporary – image retention during the screen's first 100-200 hours.

The LG 50PZ950T's colours can look great after a little tinkering, though, and its pictures are engagingly sharp, even when there's a lot of motion to handle. 3D pictures look brighter and more colourful than those of most plasma TVs too.

We liked

The LG 50PZ950T's design and build quality are both exemplary, and its connections are pretty much faultless too. It's an unusually easy but flexible TV to use, and its Magic remote alternative control system is a great idea.

It's got a huge online service, and its pictures are bright, colourful and sharp – in 3D as well as 2D.

We disliked

The set's online services are sluggish and prone to crashing, and pictures are let down by a surprisingly average black level performance.

There's also a little crosstalk during dark 3D scenes, and you'll need to be careful during the first 100 hours or so of the LG 50PZ950T's lifetime because of its susceptibility to image retention.

The TV makes a poor gaming monitor, thanks to its 100+ms of input lag.

Final verdict

LG's plasma TVs have been coming along nicely for the past three or four years. Yet while the LG 50PZ950T has greatly ramped up its online service from last year's equivalent model, it hasn't advanced as far in picture performance as the latest plasma TVs from Samsung and Panasonic, making it tough to wholeheartedly recommend unless you manage to find one substantially discounted somewhere.

Unfortunately, with so much competition in the 3D plasma arena this year, LG's 50PZ950T is neither good enough nor cheap enough to wholeheartedly recommend.